Surgency of OC’s Blue Surge Surges with Less Urgency





These updates still seem to be pretty popular, so we’ll continue with them.  So far as I can tell, the next OCROV report will be out at 5 p.m. Saturday; then on Monday.  It’s beginning to look like things will have wrapped up before Thanksgiving — and I say that just to tempt fate, because I hope that they don’t.

We’ll start with the Registrar of Voters “What’s Left to Count” info:

(1) Total Ballots Left to Count

Total estimated number of ballots to count (after Election Day): 471,011Total estimated number of ballots counted (after Election Day): 333,155

Total Estimated Left to Count: 137,856

Vote-by-Mail Left to Count

Total estimated number of vote-by-mail ballots to count: 115800

Total vote-by-mail ballots counted: 105,800

Total estimated number of vote-by-mail ballots left to count: 10,000

Provisionals Left to Count

Total estimated number of provisionals to count: 130000Total provisionals counted: 9,380

Total estimated number of provisionals left to count: 120,620

Vote-by-Mail Returned at Polling Places Left to Count

Total estimated number of vote-by-mail ballots returned at the polls to count: 187800

Total vote-by-mail ballots returned at the polls counted: 187,526

Total estimated number of vote-by-mail ballots returned at the polls left to count: 274

Election Day Paper Left to Count

Total estimated number of election day paper ballots to count: 13200Total election day paper ballots counted: 9,947

Total estimated number of election day paper ballots left to count: 3,253

Eligible Vote-by-Mail Ballots received after Election Day Left to Count

Total estimated number of eligible vote-by-mail ballots received after Election Day left to count: 20,947

Total eligible vote-by-mail ballots counted: 20,502

Total estimated number of eligible vote-by-mail ballots left to count: 445

Conditional Voter Registrations Left to Count

Total estimated number of Conditional Voter Registrations to count: 3,264

Total eligible Conditional Voter Registrations counted: 0

Total estimated number of Conditional Voter Registrations left to count: 3,264

As you can see, about 7/8 of the ballots out there are provisional. That last 1/8 is about 3/5 vote-by-mails (left alone for reasons that have never been clear to me, but that’s how Neal Kelley likes to do it), 1/5 Election Day paper ballots, and 1/5 Conditional Voters Registrations (which to me sound like more provisionals.)  Each of those ballots is a fight waiting to happen — and if those wanting to deny them can push them out past the deadline for counting, this process will take a long time, with the pace slowing to a trickle.

(2) Congressed Up in Blue

All seven of the members of Congress representing even an inch of Orange County come January will be Democrats.  I have to admit that I couldn’t imagine this really happening — wasn’t it just half a year ago that we worried about being shut out of the Top Two in several districts?  For those many conservatives who think that this is something other than a highly educated county rejecting Trump — well, I was going to say “go on thinking that,” but I would prefer to see the GOP crawl back from the Ledge of Crazy before it turns into something worse.

We’ve already gone through Linda Sanchez, Lou Correa, and Alan Lowenthal (never in doubt), through Levin, then Rouda, then Porter — and now Gil Cisneros closes things off.

Just for the sake of completeness, here are Rouda’s and Porter’s numbers today:

Completed Precincts: 395 of 395
Vote Count Percentage
HARLEY ROUDA (DEM) 140,323 53.2%
* DANA ROHRABACHER (REP) 123,401 46.8%
Completed Precincts: 444 of 444
Vote Count Percentage
KATIE PORTER (DEM) 143,144 51.4%
* MIMI WALTERS (REP) 135,120 48.6%

They’re settling into wins of about seven points and three points respectively.  Close — but not really that close.

Here’s what the numbers look for CA-39 this evening — showing results firsst from Orange County and then from Los Angeles County, with each showing the same state returns:

Candidate County Votes County % State Votes State %
Gil Cisneros

Young Kim

Candidate County Votes County % State Votes State %
Gil Cisneros

( DEM)
Young Kim


Yes, this one was close — though if Trump is renominated in 2020 it probably won’t be even this close, and in 2022 district lines will have changed, with none being more closely scrutinized as this one.  Maybe this will grow to 1.5 or 2%, but that’s just gravy.  (Kim is exactly 1.0% ahead in Chino Hills, by the way: 12.426 to 12,172.)

(3) Legislative Split

 If Republicans are looking for a silver lining to all of this, it’s that State Sen. John Moorlach is may well turn out to be the senior figure in the OCGOP.  (That would certainly be trading up!)  Here’s how the State Senate races are going:
SD-32:  Demorat Bob Archuleta from LA will represent central Buena Park.  (In the next redistricting, we need to come up with a less ludicrous line here.)
SD-34:  In a very close race, Janet Nguyen is up, but losing steam.  Fortunately for her, the vote count is as well.
Here’s yesterday’s result (OC & then districtwide)
Candidate County Votes County % State Votes State %
Tom Umberg



Janet Nguyen

And here’s today’s:
Candidate County Votes County % State Votes State %
Tom Umberg

Janet Nguyen

We have historical data handy only for the OC lead and share:
Tuesday: Janet led in OC by almost 9,000 votes in OC, a 5% lead.  Wednesday: Janet led by 6,350 in OC, a 3.4% lead.
Thursday: Janet led by was about 4,900, a 2.4% lead.
Friday: Janet leads by 4,378, a 2.2% lead.   Factor in LA’s small portion of the vote, and her lead is 1,848 — about 0.8%.  Again, provisional ballots take a long time to count — especially when partisans are selectively challenging far too many of them — but it seems like there should eventually, probably, be enough of them to elect Umberg.
SD-36:  This district is a little more than half OC and a little less than San Diego County.
Candidate County Votes County % State Votes State %
Marggie Castellano (DEM) 82,547
Patricia C. ‘Pat’ Bates

Marggie’s 26,000 vote deficit in OC leaves her about 16,500 votes behind overall.  Again, the historical data of the trend in SD is not readily available — but I do have it for OC.
Tuesday: Bates up 24,762 in OC, or 15.0%.
Wednesday: Bates up 24,625 in OC, or 14.2%.
Thursday: Bates up 25,621 in OC, or 14,2%,
Friday: Bates up 25,978 in OC,  or 13,6%.

All I can say here is that, if Marggie can come back and win, she’s going to have to do it without help from OC, because that help doesn’t seem to be on its way.  A 16.600 gap is quite large, but not necessarily impossible in one of our huge State Senate districts — if the surge is coming on hard in San Diego.

If you’re keeping track, that’s probably 2 Republican wins in the State Senate — both of them closer than they should have been.  That’s evidence of a blue wave — but not of a blue county.

Now on to the Assembly races, which are mostly over:


Candidate County Votes County % State Votes State %
Gregg D. Fritchle

(Party Preference: DEM)
* Phillip Chen

(Party Preference: REP)

These county results are from OC, which as usual provides almost the entire margin of victory for the Republican candidate.  Getting below 12% overall is a respectable result, if you overlook this being a wave year, and will probably convince Fritchle not to run for a local office to build some cred and a funding base, but to instead hope to be swept in on an anti-Trump sentiment in 2020.  Alas, do you know who is almost certain to come out even stronger in 2020?  Yorba Lindans.  Hopefully, after redistricting this district will put Yorba Linda, Placentia, and Brea east of the 57 with Anaheim Hills, unincorporated Orange and Tustin, as far down in the canyons as need be, so that AD-65 can reach up and take La Habra and the flatter parts of Brea — and perhaps be the district that extends east past the county line.  Until then: just as a tsunami would not reach far into these hills, neither does a pretty big blue wave.


Candidate Votes Percent
* Sharon Quirk-Silva

(Party Preference: DEM)
Alexandria “Alex” Coronado

(Party Preference: REP)

Sharon did get a scare put into her this year from both the primary results and the early returns — although it turns out that she would have won even without a blue wave.  Let’s not forget that the vicious attacks on her by Alex Coronado — exceeded only in this region by the Republican Assembly Speaker turning spurious accusations of a maybe (though not really) proposition into a seeming sexual assault at knifepoint.  She’ll easily survive a Presidential year election and then, after redistricting, will decide whether DC, Sacramento, or Santa Ana is most to her liking.


Candidate Votes Percent
Michelle Duman

(Party Preference: DEM)
* Steven S. Choi

(Party Preference: REP)

I owe Michelle Duman an apology: she did a lot better in this district than I ever thought she could — enough, in fact, to make incumbent Steve Choi look like a chump.

Could she still win this race?  Let’s put the last few days’ results — latest to earliest — below to see how it’s been progressing.

 THURSDAY Vote Count Percentage
* STEVEN S. CHOI (REP) 85,008 54.1%
MICHELLE DUMAN (DEM) 72,076 45.9%


 WEDNESDAY Vote Count Percentage
* STEVEN S. CHOI (REP) 80,739 54.5%
MICHELLE DUMAN (DEM) 67,368 45.5%


 TUESDAY Vote Count Percentage
* STEVEN S. CHOI (REP) 76,191 55.1%
MICHELLE DUMAN (DEM) 62,108 44.9%

Well … no.  She’s not making much progress and she’s not going to win.  But she put up a credible fight — and might even hit 48%!  That’s a pretty serious accomplishment.


Who’s the Democrat here?  Oh yeah….

Completed Precincts: 118 of 118
Vote Count Percentage
* TOM DALY (DEM) 52,889 74.5%
AUTUMN BROWNE (LIB) 18,080 25.5%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

I’ll just put up Tuesday’s results so that we can get a sense of how this race progressed:

Vote Count Percentage
* TOM DALY (DEM) 42,298 73.9%
AUTUMN BROWNE (LIB) 14,911 26.1%

Daly is the one who got the benefit of a Democratic surge — but a very, very small benefit.  Hopefully some Democrat can run against him next year and test the theory of whether he is functionally as Republican as his critical votes and his endorsements.


Completed Precincts: 207 of 207


 FRIDAY Vote Count Percentage
TYLER DIEP (REP) 75,422 52.1%
JOSH LOWENTHAL (DEM) 69,417 47.9%

This is the race that is still undecided.  Let’s look at the results from the three previous days.

 THURSDAY Vote Count Percentage
TYLER DIEP (REP) 71,709 52.4%
JOSH LOWENTHAL (DEM) 65,094 47.6%


WEDNESDAY Vote Count Percentage
TYLER DIEP (REP) 69,500 52.6%
JOSH LOWENTHAL (DEM) 62,552 47.4%


TUESDAY  Vote Count Percentage
TYLER DIEP (REP) 65,361 53.1%
JOSH LOWENTHAL (DEM) 57,775 46.9%

In three days of counting, Josh (or, as I call him to distinguish him from once-and-future Senator Newman, “J-Low”) has gained one percentage point on Diep.  More importantly, he has gained 11,642 votes to Diep’s 10,061 — a margin of 1,581.  In the last day, though, he gained only 300 votes — but it was a slow day all around.  He needs to make up a gap of another 6,005 votes to win — which, if he can make up 500/day, is twelve days — possibly doable; if 300/day, that’s 20 days of counting, so … no.

Here’s why I think that he might be able to pull it off.

I’m getting emails from the Democratic Party inviting me to go to the ROV’s office and watch the counting of the provisional ballots, where legions of Republican attorneys have supposedly already been dispatched to challenge signature matches on provisional ballots.  OK, not really surprising but … why are they still bothering to do so?  They’ve already lost all of the Congressional races.  Are they out here to protect Tim Shaw from Doug Chaffee?  Probably not.  Are they out here to protect Anaheim from a living wage ordinance and a smart and not necessarily compliant Mayor?  That seems like more a Disney production than a partisan one.

There are two races in the county that I expect would rouse the state Republican Party — and they are Janet Nguyen vs. Tom Umberg in SD-34 and Tyler Diep vs. Josh Lowenthal in AD-72.  And they very largely overlap: if Orange County is the center of the political universe this year, western coastal and inland OC is the center of that center.  So my bet — and I haven’t spoken about this to anyone who would know — is that they are going in there and challenging every freaking provisional ballot that doesn’t either have Vietnamese-surname or belong to someone whom they know is an HB, Seal Beach, or Los Alamitos white-power activist.

Doing so without reasonable suspicion violates the rules — but is it really going to get prosecuted? Meanwhile, Democrats are not likely to retaliate, despite years and years of stories of ballot fraud by the Jabet Nguyen faction in particular, both because we’re too delicate to do so and because of certain affiliations of certain party leaders into which I shall not delve here and now.

So we may well face a situation in which Josh actually IS picking up 500 votes a day but only 300 of them show up on the tally.  If they can’t get through all of the provisionals by certain deadlines (I’m not sure how the possibility of a recount fits into those 30 days allotted for counting), then — as in Florida — some perfectly valid ballots won’t get counted.  It’s just a hunch, but I think that whatever has been (and continues to be) gumming up the operation of the ROV — which can be seen from its drop in productivity — has to do with this race and SD-34.  I think that someone may be trying to run out the clock.  And it’s scandalous.


Completed Precincts: 259 of 259
Vote Count Percentage
* WILLIAM (BILL) BROUGH (REP) 106,243 56.6%
SCOTT RHINEHART (DEM) 81,403 43.4%

* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

It’s wonderful that Scott did even this well, but I don’t see him picking up 25,000 votes.  For one thing, my guess is that provisional ballots are simply less common in South County than most other places — which means that their counting is pretty much done.

Completed Precincts: 273 of 273
Vote Count Percentage
* MATTHEW HARPER (REP) 85,656 47.7%

The late trend goes towards Democrats, not away from them!

More on other races tomorrow (or so).  MAKE THIS YOUR OPEN THREAD TOO!

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)